Noted Sea Level Expert Accuses IPCC of Falsifying Data
December 11, 2007 4:48 AM
Claims IPCC estimates are bunk; Observational data shows no sea level rise trend
Note: Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner has been studying sea level change for 35 years. He is the former head of Stockholm University's department of Paleodeophysics and Geodynamics. Dr. Mörner is and an expert reviewer for the IPCC, leader of the Maldives Sea Level Project, and past president of the INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes.
A noted expert in sea level change has
accused UN's IPCC panel of falsifying and destroying data (PDF)
to support the panel's official conclusion of a rising sea level trend. The accusations include surreptitious substitution of datasets, selective use of data, presenting computer model simulations as physical data, and even the destruction of physical markers which fail to demonstrate sea level rise.
Dr. Nils-Axel Mörner
, also raps the IPCC for their selection of 22 authors of their most recent report on sea level rise (SLR), none of which were sea level specialists. According to Mörner, the authors were chosen to "arrive at a predetermined conclusion" of global warming-induced disaster.
Sea level changes can be detected by a number of methods. Rotational timing is a very precise method, and is based on the fact that a change in the earth's radius will cause minute differences in it's rate of rotation. A rise in sea level increases the radius slightly, and can therefore be detected by precisely timing when the sun rises and sets. This method can detect changes in sea level as small as one millimeter. Data collected in this manner has shown the ocean to have risen and fallen slightly several times since the early 1900s, without any definitive trend.
Satellite altimetry is another method. Mörner says that, in 2003, The IPCC's altimetry dataset, which had previously displayed no clear trend, suddenly changed, with past readings modified to show a strong uplift. Though corrections to datasets are supposed to be clearly announced and identified, this was done secretly, and not labeled. When Mörner inquired about the discrepancy, he was told the readings had been adjusted by a "correction factor".
Where did this factor come from? The least precise method of measuring sea level is tide gauge records. These are problematic as the land under the gauge may itself be rising or falling. Hong Kong maintains six tide gauges, five of which show no trend. The sixth, located on land where compaction is causing the ground to sink, was chosen by the IPCC as the correction factor for global altimetry data.
Tide gauges kept in the sensitive areas of Pacific and Indian Ocean islands show a different story. In Vanuatu, Tegua, and the Tuvalu Islands, gauge records show no trend at all. In the Maldives, tide gauges kept from the 1950s show a small drop in the 1970s, and no change since.
More shocking is Mörner's claim of the destruction of evidence. A famous low-lying tree in the Maldives has long been a marker for sea-level change, and noted in several research papers. But when an Australian team visited the island on a data-gathering trip, they saw the tree and pulled it down, according to local eyewitnesses. Mörner's team later replanted the tree in the same spot.
Climatologist and IPCC Expert Reviewer Dr. Madhav Khandekar, contacted by
in regards to this story, also believes SLR is being exaggerated by the IPCC. Khandekar says SLR over the next 100 years will be "insignificant" and pointed to recent research demonstrating SLR had actually declined in the latter half of the 20th century.
Dr. Mörner also had harsh words for the Maldives government. When the Maldives Sea Level Project concluded there was no threat to from rising sea levels, a documentary was made to reassure residents. The government, however, banned airing of the film. According to Mörner, the rationale for the ban was financial. The Maldives stands to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in climate change aid from Western governments. "Because they thought that they would lose money." He said, "They accuse the West for putting out carbon dioxide, so they wanted the flooding scenario to go on."
Mörner says it's becoming increasingly hard to perform objective climate research. In the European Community, a prerequisite for research grants is that the focus must be on global warming. Papers which don't support global warming aren't funded. "That's what dictatorships did, autocracies." He added, "They demanded that scientists produce what they wanted."
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